Six great woodland activities for your children

Six great woodland activities for your children
Keep the kids entertained in the summer holidays with our great woodland activities. (Photo: M Daw/WTML)

Stave off summer holiday boredom with some of our energetic woodland play. Try our 6 great woodland activities for children.

Build a den

Den building takes team work and creativity. Use anything you can find on the woodland floor – fallen branches, sticks, ferns, stones and moss. Some strong string, such as garden twine, is handy too.

It’s best to let the kids figure it out for themselves. But if they need a little help:

  • Find a tree with branches that make a V shape near the ground
  • Collect some long, straight sticks and prop these into the V, fanning them out to make the sides of the den, or
  • You can make a free-standing tepee shape by tying the sticks together at the top with string (take the string with you when you leave)
  • Find some thinner, bendy twigs and weave them in and out of the uprights
  • Camouflage your den by covering it with ferns, leaves and moss

Older kids could get creative and make a ‘garden’ with a fence of sticks stuck into the ground, plant some twigs or pine cones, and lay out small stones to spell the name of their new woodland home.

Little ones could try building a mini den for their favourite toy, or for the fairies.

Den building is great fun, but before you start, please make sure you have the permission of the landowner. It's OK to build dens in our woods, but please only use wood that's already on the ground and loose logs (not from sculpture or piles) and remember to leave the area as you found it.

Climb a tree

Kids love to climb! It’s great exercise and gives them a huge sense of achievement. Just show them how to find a suitable tree – it should be green and healthy with lots of sturdy branches not too high up. Remind kids to ask your permission before they climb, and set a safe height limit if you think they might get too adventurous.

Make an obstacle course

Find a log to balance along; set out some stepping stones across a stream or puddle, put up some hurdles to jump over or limbo under… The woods are full of physical challenges and kids could simply tackle natural obstacles they come across as they explore, or create their own course to race over.

Send them on a scavenger hunt

Give them a paper bag and a list of things to find. Set a time limit to get them running around. They could look for:

  • A feather
  • A star-shaped leaf
  • Something sticky
  • A daisy
  • Something smooth
  • A dandelion clock
  • A yellow flower
  • Something stripy
  • Something spotty
  • 3 different types of grass
  • A smooth stone
  • A seed pod

Swing like Tarzan

You’ll need to bring at least 4m of strong rope. Fix it securely to a chunky branch overhanging a slope. Tie a large knot at the bottom of the rope to make it easier to hang on to – little kids will find it easier if you attach a piece of wood for them to stand on. Test the rope before the kids start to swing. Don’t forget to holler like Tarzan!

Take the rope home when you leave.

Give geocaching a go

Track down hidden treasures using a GPS device or smartphone app. Caches usually contain a notebook and pencil so you can log your find, and sometimes toys or trinkets that you can swap. Visit the geocaching website to learn more and find caches that are hidden in woodlands near you.

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